Group challenges Starbucks policy on guns

A photo posted to Twitter shows a gun on a table with a Starbucks order.
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An Indiana woman is leading a charge to keep guns out a popular coffee shop.

Indiana law allows Hoosiers to legally carry a gun if they have a permit. A Zionsville mom says Starbucks should join other businesses to ban guns at their stores, regardless of the law.

"This picture of a man at Starbucks with his Glock and two cups of coffee and a scone," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Watts showed Eyewitness News a picture from a follower on Twitter who's mad she's asking Starbucks to change their gun policy.

"I did not realize that I was taking my kids to Starbucks and they could be standing next to someone with a loaded weapon," said Watts.

The Zionsville native started the online organization days after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Moms Demand Action has 100,000 members in nearly 40 states.

The moms want increased background checks, assault weapons out of the hands of civilians, and ammunition purchase tracking.

Like retail giant Walmart, Starbucks' policy is to follow local law.

But other corporations like Disney, Target, and Toys R Us have their own set of rules that ban carrying guns on their property.

Watts said her group is targeting Starbucks and four other companies because they say it's about corporate responsibility.

"Starbucks has banned smoking 25 feet outside stores. It is illegal to smoke 25 feet of the store and even with electronic cigarettes, yet they are allowing guns in the store. That's hypocrisy," Watts said.

"I take my gun, at least one, everywhere I go, unless they don't allow guns," countered Melinda Porter with Indiana Moms Against Gun Control.

Porter said she's carried her revolver in Starbucks and other businesses that allow it because it's her right with the Second Amendment.

"If they want to do something about gun violence, don't go after the people abiding the law. The criminal down the street sees the sign that says no guns and he doesn't care," said Porter.

A media spokesperson for Starbucks issued a statement to Eyewitness News, standing by their local law policy:

"Starbucks deeply respects the views of our customers and recognizes there is significant and genuine passion surrounding open carry weapons laws. Our long-standing approach to this topic remains unchanged.

"In communities that permit open carry, we abide by local laws. Where these laws don't exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited. We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both our partners (employees) and customers. As the public debate around this topic continues, we encourage customers and advocacy groups from both sides to share their input with public officials."

Watts and other members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will hold a meeting Wednesday at a local Starbucks to gain signatures for a petition she hopes to deliver to Starbucks' CEO.

Moms Demand Action website